In line with the new trend toward participatory city branding processes, this article offers four theoretical principles and practices that guide a communicative approach to city branding. Specifically, this article (i) theoretically explores how different voices of the city construct public perceptions of a city's brand images and brand identities, and (ii) offers a conceptual methodology that marketers could use to engage, invite, listen and hermeneutically 'read' such discourses and narratives to reveal unique meanings of the city's key attributes. Drawing on Ricoeur's narrative theory, Hauser's view of publics and literature from socio-spatial studies of urban branding, this article argues for a public-oriented understanding of city brands that focuses on the dialectical relationship between narrative and the symbolic meanings that publics attach to shared social spaces. This article supplements current city branding literature by exploring how public discourses and narratives form, enhance and communicate key meanings of the city, and how marketers can identify and integrate such understandings in communicating the city brand. A case study of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's discourses and narratives was then explored to unearth key metaphors of the city that marketers could - and what is argued should - be communicated as the city brand.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Strategy and Management